Will ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ win with Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.?

Last year, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. named “The Descendants” as the Best Picture of the year.

That pick differed from those of the New York Film Critics Circle, which went with eventual Oscar champ “The Artist,” and the National Board of Review, which opted for “Hugo.” That film from Martin Scorsese ended up winning five of its leading 11 Oscar bids while “The Descendants” lost all but one of its five Oscar races. 

Of this year’s leading contenders, “Zero Dark Thirty” and its director Kathryn Bigelow already have won over both the New York critics and the NBR. Her last film, “The Hurt Locker,” claimed these top prizes from both the NY and LA critics in 2009 while the NBR went with “Up in the Air” and “Invictus” helmer Clint Eastwood

The first time that the LA critics went with a film that had taken both these precursor prizes was in 1993 with “Schindler’s List,” which on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. That film’s helmer, Steven Spielberg, is in contention this year with “Lincoln.” He did not win Best Director from either the LA or NY critics for “Schindler’s List” — they both went with Jane Campion (“The Piano”) — but he did claim the Oscar. 


LAFCA has lined up with both NYFCC and the NBR two other times: in 1997 with “LA Confidential” (“Titanic” won the Oscar) and in 2010 with “The Social Network” (“The King’s Speech” won the Oscar).

LAFCA’s success rate at predicting Oscar champs is just so-so. Indeed, 2009 was the last time they foresaw either winner of Best Picture or Director. In their 37-year history, they have presaged the Best Picture champ only six times; the last of these prior to “The Hurt Locker” was “Schindler’s List.” And the LA critics have crowned just 11 of the Best Director Oscar champs. 

They do much better with the acting awards.

They got Best Actor right 21 times, though last year’s LA winner Michael Fassbender was not nominated for any of his leading performances (“A Dangerous Method,” “Jane Eyre,” “Shame” and “X-Men: First Class”).

A dozen of their Best Actress winners went on to claim the Oscar, though their last four picks weren’t even nominated. 

Fourteen of their choices for Supporting Actor repeated at the Oscars, including Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”) last year.

And thirteen of their Supporting Actress winners picked up matching Oscar bookends. Last year, LAFCA cited Jessica Chastain for six films: “Coriolanus,” “The Debt,” “The Help,” “Take Shelter,” “Texas Killing Fields” and “The Tree of Life.” She contended at the Oscars for “The Help” but lost to co-star Octavia Spencer. 

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